Thursday, 17 January 2019

Ballycastle Twist

Wonderful Week!

I was so motivated last week, after the holiday break, that I couldn't rest until I finished this first quilt of the year. This one is for my sofa, to replace my early first attempt at feathers which looked rather like bananas!

Although it was a busy week in other ways I got it done in 10 days, putting that oh so satisfying final stitch in on Tuesday night! 

The layout is the same as the French General top I quilted for Janet S last year, which I thought was so striking with just two contrasting fabrics. My version, however, uses almost all the fabrics in Christopher Wilson-Tate's Regency Ballycastle 18th Century Chintz collection, in these delicious blues and yellows. I used most of 3 charm packs and 4 fat quarters to make the 144 half square triangle units, plus a couple of metres of the yellow print for the border. (That was the only one I bought on the bolt.)

The centre section is made up of 4 of these matching 24 inch quarter blocks. All the yellows and darker blues were placed on one side and the light blues, whites and creams on the other side. Then I rotated each section by a quarter turn, so that there is a sort of pinwheel effect in the middle, as you can see in the top picture. Hence the name I have given it: 'Ballycastle Twist'

I spent a whole day quilting the centre panel with waves of feathers with pebbled spines. They show up clearer from the back.

Then I spent all of Sunday finishing the border. Some ruler work for the semi circle outlines (filled in with freehand curled feathers) and curved cross hatching. Then lots of ruler work for the ribbed edge. 

I finally got a chance to try a double layer of wadding using my new wool wadding. I still think it could have more definition, again it looks better from the back. When I get some more time for myself I will experiment some more, and perhaps on a plain fabric.

But there won't be much chance of that for a while; I have had four requests this week to finish quilts for some other busy ladies. So I am really pleased to have got this one done - just for ME!

Happy Quilting Everyone!

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Sunday, 6 January 2019

January Blues

I had to call Dibs on these!

I've only just caught up on my chores and got back into my sewing room tonight, after more than two weeks abstinence!

 Top of my long to do list is to make a start on a project for myself. These lovely blues, yellows and whites are from the new Regency Ballycastle Chintz 18th Century collection by Christopher Wilson-Tate for Moda and I've been itching to use some of them. This is one charm pack made into 4 and a 1/2" Half Square Triangle units, trimmed up nicely with my Bloc-Loc Ruler. (Such a useful tool, I wouldn't be without it).

I will need at least another pack and a couple of fat quarters for the design I have in mind. It will be a medium-sized square quilt to liven up my sofa a bit and will replace one of my first attempts at quilting feathers on the long arm - I think I can improve on that now. Christopher is bringing some of his antique quilts to Connecting Threads next month and I'm hoping to have it done by then.

Father Christmas really delivered this year and brought me all the toys on my wishlist!

There are so many new tools to try out, I hardly know what to do first; new shapes on the long arm, clever strip pieced Dresden plates or appliqué - so many ideas going round my mind!
But I have lots of other projects to pursue already, with samples for workshops and preparations for my classes etc - 2019 is already looking like a busy year. I can't wait to get stuck in!

Happy Quilting Everyone!

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Thursday, 20 December 2018

Feet up for Christmas!

"The Midnight Elves have been hard at work!"

That's what Jackie said when I told her that I had finished her big quilt in under a week. 

This one was as big as the last one I did for Janet. 

A stunning large block in coordinating fabrics on a crisp white on white background. Jackie told me it was a kit, I think from the States, but I don't know the name of it.

At first I thought I would use a light green thread, but in the end decided that an off white would blend across the white and patterned areas much better.
This was another allover feather job, like Janet's. I used the piecing as a guide for the depth of each row, which came out about six inches. Janet's worked out at eight inches, so there was even more quilting on this one. Three spools of thread (approx 1500 yards).

The fine 'Bottom Line' thread in the bobbin just blended in to show this lovely texture on the back.

Now I am up to date for Christmas! 

But I have just received these beautiful new fabrics (and more) from Moda. It's the new range from Christopher Wilson-Tate of the Antique Textiles Company in Hampstead. It is called Regency Ballycastle and is inspired by the beautiful fabrics in the antique quilts from his private collection. I will be listing them for sale on my website soon, but not until I've taken out the 'must haves' for myself. 

I already have my first project for the New Year lined up!

Merry Christmas! Happy New Year! Happy Quilting Everyone!

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Thursday, 13 December 2018

Still Quilting!

I'm Just a Girl Who Can't Say No!

I never like to make a promise I might not be able to keep, so I was a little cautious when new patchworker, Toni, asked me to finish this quilt for a new arrival expected before Christmas.

But I had finished Janet's beautifully pieced quilt and it came out just how I wanted (...and she liked it too!) It was a big job, but SO satisfying. 

I had to piece the backing and  try to line up the large scale pattern. I only just had enough length to work with. 

So when I saw these pretty fabrics, and how enthusiastic Toni was, I just couldn't resist starting it straightaway. She had made such a lovely job of this 'disappearing nine-patch' and I can tell she has got 'the BUG' big time!

I quilted a meandering pattern of hearts, flowers and ribbons across the main section and filled the borders with curled ribbons and petals.

We had a fun little sewing session when she came to collect it today and I was able to show her how to make and attach the binding. So now she has a head start on getting it finished in time.

I had also accepted another quilt top (as big as Janet's) from Jackie, but said I couldn't commit to doing it before Christmas. 
You guessed it! ............ On the frame and started already!

Those feathers just keep on flowing!

Happy Quilting Everyone!

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Friday, 7 December 2018

Tree of Life Reborn

And Feathers In The Wings 

It was such a pleasure to recreate this Tree of Life Quilt, when Val asked me to make one as a Christmas present for a family member. My first version (right) of this charming design by Edyta Sitar came about as a result of the Half Square Triangle exchange that I organised for Connecting Threads and Studio Quilters three or more years ago.

I found I actually had enough  Half Square Triangle units in my stash to get me started on the Tree Tops, as well as one of the appliqué birds!

This time I chose to make all the trunks with the same fabric (with a tree pattern print) and I liked it just as much as the mixed prints I used first time around.

And my quilting is much improved too!

Then it was on to Mary B's whimsical little quilt for her nephew's Christmas present. These charming pictures were cut from a panel. Mary had made clever use of additional borders to produce this original layout as printed panels rarely have the right proportions for a quilt.

Next up is that 'big one' by Janet S. It's all loaded and ready to go and the feathers will be flying!

Happy Quilting Everyone!

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Sunday, 25 November 2018

French General Feathers

And that Sea of Colour ...

This one was always going to be fun to quilt. Another 'French General' red and beige creation by Janet S. Although I am not a fan of red for myself, the particular palette, slightly faded look and classic designs of French General fabrics are just sumptuous. The simple (but perfect) piecing - all half square triangle units - makes this quilt all the more attractive. Look at those gorgeous points!
This is the third in a series of similar quilts that Janet has made and she actually uses them as curtains - how lovely!
She has just dropped off a 'big one' which will push my frame to its limits. But once I have it loaded the feathers will be flowing again. It is so freeing!

Earlier in the week I put the finishing touches to this first ever quilt made by the lovely Pat, one of the ladies in my class at Borehamwood. I am so proud of her!

More red and beige but with a slightly different style of feathers this time.

Meanwhile, my remake of the Tree of Life is coming along nicely, although this minor mishap today was my cue to call it a day this evening!

And as promised, here a few shots of those wonderful Sew a Row quilts which we showed at Connecting Threads last week before sending them off to Project Linus.

Happy Quilting Everyone!
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Friday, 16 November 2018

Sew A Row Project

My Own Version Revealed ...

And One For Project Linus!

In all the excitement of our Christmas / 20th Birthday celebration evening at Connecting Threads last night, I didn't get an opportunity to take a picture of the 20 or so quilts we had created in our group 'Sew a Row' project, before they were whisked off by a very happy and grateful Hertfordshire Co-ordinator for Project Linus. (I will post one taken by someone else when I can.) They were magnificent -  a sea of colour and all so different, detailed and imaginative!

We started this project in January, and it took 7 months to make our rows, swap them around the group and then assemble them into quilts before the 'Big Reveal'. 

Each month's row had a given theme; Houses, Trees, Animals, Vehicles, Boats, Beach and Stars. We could choose what ever style and method we liked, within certain size constraints and had to try to incorporate fabrics from previous rows and add some of our own. 
Then each month the bags were passed around (under wraps) for someone to add the next row, until finally we got back the one we started, to finish it all off.
I was so inspired by the concept that I decided to make this version of my own alongside it, but in my choice of fabrics. I must have been inspired to cut into some of my Edyta Sitar blues that were still in their cellophane! So each month I made the row for the exchange and duplicated it for my own quilt.

These were my trees for month 2 to be added to these brightly coloured houses. 

Here is my blue version. (See how I couldn't resist adding just a blush of pink here and there!)

My interpretation of the 'Animal' row were these 'Edyta' inspired birds on a vine. Inspiration struck me again (when I should really have been sleeping!) to use them as a border all round on my version. 

The row I found hardest to design was the 'Beach' row. Everyone else made incredibly imaginative beach scenes with all sorts of things going on. By contrast, my sea shells were very simple.

A row of 5 of these went into the quilt completed by Jean Smith.

I had to wait for my long arm machine to be serviced before I could quilt this one (as well as installing the Micro Handles). As you can see, I really gave her a run for her money!

I wasn't the only person to make 2 quilts, but I did feel a bit guilty for keeping one for myself!!
But if my colourful strippy scrap quilt doesn't sell in aid of NSPCC at their Christmas Craft Sale at Allum Hall in Borehamwood on Sunday 18th November (10.30 am to 3.30pm), I will donate that one  to Project Linus.

Project Linus UK is a volunteer organisation. They aim to provide a sense of security and comfort to sick and traumatised babies, children and teenagers through the provision of new home made patchwork quilts and knitted blankets, and give volunteers across the UK the opportunity to contribute to their local community. Visit their website for more details:

 Happy Quilting Everyone!
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